In 2006, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Bill Thomas, sent a letter to NCAA President, Myles Brand. In this letter, Thomas had this to say:
"The annual return also states that one of the NCAA's purposes is to 'retain a clear line of demarcation between intercollegiate athletics and professional sports.' Corporate sponsorships, multimillion dollar television deals, highly paid coaches with no academic duties, and the dedication of inordinate amounts of time by athletes to training lead many to believe that major college football and men's basketball more closely resemble professional sports than amateur sports."
In this letter, Thomas makes a very clear point that is also being mentioned by academics, coaches, former athletes, students, attorneys and fair-minded Americans throughout the country: the NCAA is a professional sports league. To call collegiate athletes in revenue-generating sports "amateur" is like calling Barack Obama a part-time politician in training.
Companies pay CBS Sports $100,000 dollars for a 30-second ad during the early rounds of March Madness. This cost jumps to $1 million dollars for a 30-second spot during the Final Four. The NCAA's contract with CBS is an 11-year, $6.1 billion dollar TV rights deal, with the NCAA hauling in over half a billion per year in revenue. The amount of money made during March Madness exceeds that which is earned in the playoffs for the NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball. The average coach in March Madness earns roughly $1 million dollars per year and schools typically hire their basketball coaches without giving a "you-know-what" about the academic standards of the coach they've chosen to hire (you hear that Kentucky)?
Now, who said that any of this could be defined as "amateur"?